Triple European sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith has thrown her weight behind England Athletics’ new #gocoach campaign, which is aiming to attract 10,000 new coaches to the sport by 2020.
The star, who ends 2018 as the joint-fastest woman in the world, has been coached since the age of nine by John Blackie at Blackheath & Bromley Harriers Athletics Club.
She explains: “The relationship between any coach and athlete, whether at elite or beginner level, is pivotal in enabling you to be the best version of yourself both on and off the track. The launch of #gocoach is a great reminder of all the hard work and support that coaches and run leaders provide – often voluntarily – to help others.”
England Athletics says the launch of #gocoach follows a “huge increase in the sport’s popularity since London 2012.”
The organisation is eager to stress that a sporting background is not a prerequisite to getting involved in athletics coaching, with benefits ranging from the impact on others’ enjoyment of physical activity to reduced social isolation and transferrable employment skills.
Coach John Blackie adds: “Being a coach is incredibly rewarding. Not only are you able to share achievements, but you’re also there to support and motivate during any low moments. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Dina for 14 years now, and share her journey to being the fastest British woman in history. The joys of coaching don’t just apply to working with elite athletes though; being a volunteer coach or leader is an extremely worthwhile role. I would encourage everyone to get involved.”
England Athletics supports and represents 1,305 affiliated clubs (covering track and field, road running, fell, hill, trail and cross-country clubs), 172,000 registered athletes and 320 affiliated organisations. The body also delivers a range of grassroots campaigns aimed at broadening participation in athletics. Other examples include Run Together, This Girl Can Run and #RunAndTalk in partnership with MIND.